Bloomberg offers US$9 million to mayors in Latin America
Michael Bloomberg has launched the third Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge that will this year be open to cities in Latin America and the Caribbean. The competition includes a US$5 million grand prize and four US$1 million awards to four other cities that generate new ideas that solve major problems and improve city life–and that ultimately can be shared with other cities. “Cities around the world are pursuing bold policy innovations, and those in Latin America and the Caribbean are helping to lead the way,” said Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term mayor of New York City. “Expanding the Mayors Challenge to Latin America and the Caribbean provides new opportunities for progress on a wide range of issues that impact the lives of citizens.” Cities with 100,000 or more residents in Latin America and the Caribbean are invited to enter this year’s competition before 15 March 2016. More than 900 cities are eligible within the region. All cities competing in the ??challenge must submit ideas that do one or more of the following:
  • Address a major social or economic issue in the local area
  • Improve customer service for citizens or businesses
  • Create government efficiencies
  • Improve citizen engagement in local government
Winners from previous challenges that took place in Europe and the US, including Athens and Providence, advise cities thinking of participating to provide a clear strategy and one that can be constantly evaluated. “The Mayors Challenge allows for real innovation which requires local capacity to constantly be looking ahead in anticipation of what might go wrong and what might go better than you expect,” Courtney Hawkins, Executive Director of Providence Talks, told Development Finance. Amalia Zepou, Vice Mayor for Civil Society and Municipality Decentralisation, Athens said: “Bloomberg Philanthropies give more than just the award. Their team assists you with coaching sessions and relevant information to your idea that are invaluable.” As well as improving the lives of their cities, both Zepou and Hawkins agree that the award has boosted their cities helping them to become an integral part of the international debate on city innovation. “We’ve been consistently surprised by the attention and interest on a national and international level in our project, for example I was contacted by someone from Australia a few weeks ago,” added Hawkins. “The Mayors Challenge has certainly helped elevate both our programme far beyond what most mid-size city projects would experience.” Bloomberg Philanthropies and a selection committee of innovation and urban policy experts, largely from Latin America and the Caribbean, will select the winning cities. The selection committee will be announced in the coming months. For further information about the challenge, see: mayorschallenge.bloomberg.org
By Jonathan Andrews
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Photo: Bloomberg Philanthropy